Here’s a look at five of the most interesting teams heading into the NBA trade deadline.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder currently hold the 7-seed out West, but they’re just 2.5 games out of the 4-seed. Going into the season, OKC seemed like a potential NBA trade deadline seller, but they’ve exceeded expectations.
OKC holds a king’s ransom of future draft assets, so a Gallo deal wouldn’t necessarily need to be for more picks.
OKC 1sts:— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) July 12, 2019
2020 Own (1-20)
2020 DEN (11-30)
2021 Own (HOU 5-30 swap right)
2021 MIA (HOU 5-30 swap right)
2022 Own (1-14)
2023 Own (LAC swap right)
2023 MIA (15-30)
2024 HOU (5-30)
2025 Own (LAC and HOU 21-30 swap right)
2026 HOU (5-30)
Gallinari’s contract expires after this season, so it would behoove OKC GM Sam Presti to recoup something for him. In addition, with the weak free agent market next offseason, ‘The Rooster’ is in line to get paid.
Gallinari plays a coveted position as a stretch-4. He hits .441 percent of his field goal attempts and .410 from three.
OKC is likely to make the playoffs barring an epic collapse, and dealing Gallinari will do little to impact those odds. With the team slightly over the luxury tax line, Presti should look to package Gallinari with perhaps the $10 million remaining on Andre Roberson‘s contract.
Another move could be to go all-in on this season and become a Buyer. A player like Minnesota’s Robert Covington would fit nicely in OKC.
Things have gone sideways in Minnesota, which is way eyes around league are turning there ahead of the NBA trade deadline. The Wolves have made big deadline deals in the past, but there’s about a zero percent chance Karl-Anthony Towns gets moved.
That’s not to say they won’t be active. Minnesota joined the fray early with a January trade of Jeff Teague to Atlanta. That deal, though, has opened a spot at point guard in Minny and there’s traction on a trade with the Warriors for Towns’ buddy D’Angelo Russell.
Minnesota tried to sign Russell in the offseason, but were outbid by the Warriors. Now it would seem they’re hot on the trail again.
A move like that wouldn’t be for this year, as the Wolves have lost 12 in a row and Towns himself hasn’t taken part in a victory since November.
Karl-Anthony Towns has not won a game he’s played in since Nov. 27, 2019 😳 pic.twitter.com/z7VZ672NLy— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) February 4, 2020
But the other reason teams are paying attention to Minnesota is Robert Covington. The forward remains one of the best 3-and-D players in the league despite the down year. He nets .358 percent of his threes for his career. And he holds a reasonable deal for the next two seasons at $12.1 and $12.9 million.
Los Angeles Clippers
Currently the 2-seed out West, the Clippers are another team to watch at the NBA trade deadline. While they’re limited in terms of tradable assets, LA does have a 2020 1st round pick, Maurice Harkless‘s expiring deal and plenty of salary filler to work with.
There’s talk now of the team dangling Montrezl Harrell for an upgrade. The Clips could use another 3-and-D type, as well as another big who can rebound. They might not feel comfortable rolling with Ivica Zubac playing big minutes in the playoffs.
Harrell is a fan favorite and big-time energy guy, but at 6’7″ he’s undersized for a center. He’s an excellent pick-and-roll finisher.
One name to look out for is New York’s Marcus Morris. It’s said that the Knicks want to keep Morris, but it makes no sense to do so in the current market. Morris would help LA on the perimeter and be an upgrade over Patrick Patterson and JaMychal Green.
Motown needs to make a move. Several actually. Detroit has been spinnings its wheels in mediocrity since their title run in 2004. Paying players like Reggie Jackson and trading for broken stars like Blake Griffin has not helped.
They’ve been hesitant to hit the reset button with the new arena in 2017, but it’s time to do so now.
There’s no secret Detroit is shopping center Andre Drummond. His $27 million salary might scare some away, especially since he could opt into almost $29 million next season. As strong a rebounder and capable defender, Drummond would be massive upgrades in a number places, particularly Boston.
Teams like Atlanta and New York have also been mentioned as possible landing spots for Drummond.
But the real asset Detroit should sell high on is Derrick Rose. The oft-injured former MVP demonstrated new life in Detroit. He averages 18.5 points this season, his highest clip since pre-ACL tear.
Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers could use someone of his talents.
The Miami Heat are interesting as we approach the NBA trade deadline because they seem to be interested in everyone. There have been reports linking the Heat to a number of players, such as Gallinari, Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala. And those are just this week.
Miami has surprised many with their play this year. Expected to be fighting for the 8-seed, the Heat find themselves in the 2-6 logjam. At present, they’re the 4-seed thanks to losing a tie-breaker with the 3-seed Celtics. But they’re 1.5 games behind the Raptors and hold the tiebreaker against Toronto.
The Heat bludgeoned Philadelphia last night and it’s clear the team has the making of a playoff contender. They’re one of three teams to defeat the Bucks in Milwaukee this season.
The problem? They’re hard-capped and limited in terms of salary. And they don’t have any draft picks to trade.
Any realistic deal for Miami might need to be built around currently-injured forward Justise Winslow. They also have the expiring contracts of Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard and Derrick Jones Jr., but each of those players is an integral rotation piece.
However, Pat Riley has made major moves with less in the past. (Like the acquisition of Jimmy Butler without cap-space).
Miami feels like it’s one move away from truly contending for the Eastern Conference Championship this season. And that move might be made at the NBA trade deadline.
Check out our latest NBA Content: 10 Teams Vying for Title: NBA Championship Contender or Pretender? and 2020 NBA All-Stars Set for Chicago.